Labor union survey over pension changes offers glimpse into debate 

When it comes to the debate over what pension measure should appear on the November ballot, one chief sticking point is by how much current city workers’ pension rates should increase. Public Defender Jeff Adachi is out collecting signatures for his pension measure that increases pension rates the highest. Mayor Ed Lee has his proposal. And a coalition of labor unions have their own.

Lee is working Thursday to strike an agreement with the labor group over one consensus measure.

A recent 10 question survey of more than 600 members of Local 21, professional, technical and administrative employees, showed 62 percent supported labors’ proposed measure to have existing employees contribute up to 10.5 percent if they make between $50,000 and $100,000 and up to 11 percent if they make more than $100,000. Twentynine percent said they just want to keep paying the existing 7.5 percent contribution. However, an increase of just 3 percent — existing workers contribute 7.5 percent to their pensions — is probably not good enough for Mayor Ed Lee.

When it came to how much Local 21 members would support police and fire’s pension rates increasing, those surveyed were pretty much split.

Fortyseven percent supported the labor unions’ proposal of to increase police and fire pension rates to up to 12 percent. While 45 percent supported either Mayor Ed Lee’s proposal to increase police and fire contributions up to 15.5 percent or Public Defender Jeff Adachi’s measure to increase their rates up to 15 to 18.5 percent depending on their income levels.

That’s just a glimpse of what’s being debated just six dates before Lee must submit a pension measure for the November ballot.

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